Duke Energy has opened its new 750MW combined-cycle natural gas plant at the WS Lee Station in Anderson County, South Carolina, US.

The new facility has been designed to provide clean and reliable power to Duke Energy customers in the region.

Duke Energy chairman, president and CEO Lynn Good said: “Highly efficient natural gas plants – like W S Lee – are helping us deliver a cleaner, smarter energy future for our customers.

"The plant is said to have created more than 600 construction jobs and provided about $12m in work to local subcontractors."

“South Carolina is important to Duke Energy, and new investments like this further our commitment to power this community with reliable, affordable energy – while continuing to be a partner that’s helping prepare the region for future growth.”

Anderson County Councilwoman Cindy Wilson said: “The Lee Steam Plant is so important to this area. You have reinvented and innovated your way to this point, and many people here today will have descendants we anticipate in a hundred years gathering back here and across our county to celebrate another wonderful announcement.”

Construction of the $700m plant began in March 2015 and is said to have created more than 600 construction jobs and provided about $12m in work to local subcontractors.

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Additionally, the new unit is expected to generate nearly $4.4m in tax revenue for Anderson County next year.

According to the company, the combined-cycle natural gas units have the capacity to generate energy more efficiently and release significantly lower emissions than coal-fired units.

In 2014, Duke Energy closed two coal-fired units at the W S Lee Station, and in 2015 it converted a third coal unit to natural gas.

Currently, the company has closed all coal plants in South Carolina region.